It was difficult to have an opinion about the USSR when he was a young person, because the politics, especially during the Cold War, were propagandistic, telling only half-truths at best. He was always curious as to why they were constantly given information that painted a bleak picture. But he had a globe, and noticed how much of the land on earth was part of the USSR, so he promised himself he would go there someday. He used to listen to music constantly when going to sports competitions on the bus during his high school days, and he had a Sting cassette with the song “Russians” on it. The melody is set to a theme of Prokofiev, and that’s when he really started to become curious. The melody and the lyrics made him weep, and it still does. He thought the melody was so haunting and beautiful that he had no choice but to investigate. In Finland, when he was 18, he taught himself the Cyrillic alphabet and wrote in his journal in English, using Cyrillic characters, and often watched Finnish TV news which was much more illustrative of the situation in the USSR, especially the Baltics. He thought it unfair that he couldn’t freely visit. Three years later, he did visit Leningrad and Moscow (as a musician-collaborator on invitation of a Russian rock guitarist) for 5 weeks, and felt vindicated. His new Russian friends became very dear and important friends to him, in spite of all the political mumbo jumbo.